San Miguel Beermen

The San Miguel Beermen are a professional basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). The franchise has been owned by the San Miguel Corporation since 1975 and is one of the three PBA clubs owned by the SMC group of companies along with the Star Hotshots and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. They are the most successful team in the history of the PBA and are the only remaining original franchise in the league. The Beermen currently lead the league with the most titles with 22 and the most all-time victories with more than 1,200 wins. In addition, they won the Grand Slam in 1989. They are the only team to have won at least one PBA title in each of the five numerical decades of the league’s existence and are the first professional basketball team in the world ever to come back from a 0–3 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series which they did during the 2015–16 Philippine Cup Finals.

Beginnings

San Miguel Corporation was one of the nine companies which broke away from the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) in 1975 due to their dismay with the Basketball Association of the Philippines. This led to the formation of the first professional basketball league known as the Philippine Basketball Association.

MICAA days

Even at the very start, San Miguel Brewery had a team in the pre-war MICAA. The MICAA was similar to the UAAP or the NCAA, where basketball was one of the various sports. There was MICAA competition for baseball, volleyball, football, among other games. But as always, it was basketball which became prominent.

Manny Paner, Rosalio Martirez, and David Regullano were all members of the 1973 squad that won the Asian Basketball Confederation Championships held in Manila. Regullano and Rogelio “Tembong” Melencio alternated in shackling the high-scoring Shin Dong Pa of South Korea.

Royal Tru-Orange (1975–1980)


In their first PBA season, they were known as Royal Tru-Orange (San Miguel Corporation’s softdrinks business were operated then as a division of SMC). Royal Tru-Orange (RTO) finished third place in all three conferences in 1975.

RTO was bannered by center Manny Paner, forward Estoy Estrada and point guard Yoyong Martirez. In the PBA’s inaugural season, both Paner and Estrada made it to the Mythical Team.

In the import-laden 1976 Open Conference, they paraded the high-scoring Carl Bird.

Manny Paner later signed with Presto in 1977 while Ernesto Estrada played one more year with the team before joining Toyota in 1978. RTO signed shooter Valerio “Botchok” delos Santos and center Marte Samson to replace their departed stars in a cost-cutting move.

1979 was the time when the team had two imports of unlimited height playing together – these were 6’9 Otto Moore and 6’7 Larry Pounds. They faced Toyota in the finals of that best of five series which they won in four games. Moore and Pounds were backstopped by a crew made up of a lot of Visayan cagers like Tony Torrente, Yoyong Martirez, Jess Migalbin, Salvador Ramas, Melchor Ravanes plus a host of others like Rudy Lalota, Leo Paguntalan, ex-PSBA standout Ramon Dizon, and ex-UV Green Lancer Marlowe Jacutin. The team was coached by ironically, future Toyota coach Ed Ocampo.

The franchise became the second team in PBA history to break the Crispa-Toyota stranglehold as far as winning championships were concerned. The year before, in 1978, UTex was the first team to do so when they beat Crispa for the title.

San Miguel Beermen (1981–1983)


Playing as San Miguel Beermen, the franchise won the 1982 PBA Invitational tournament, defeating the Crispa Redmanizers in three games with Tommy Manotoc as head coach. Marte Saldaña won Rookie of the Year honors that year after coming over from the MICAA ranks. He complemented well with Best Import Award winner Norman Black and was instrumental in San Miguel’s second championship in the 1982 Invitationals against Crispa. Another Saldaña, Antero or Terry of Toyota was also favored to win the Rookie of the Year award but he instigated a free-for-all against the national team of South Korea and by way of penalty, Terry Saldaña was taken out of the Rookie of the Year Award race.

That 1982 team still featured veteran guard Yoyong Martirez as well as a returning Manny Paner, who played his last 5 seasons in the PBA with his original franchise. In the PBA’s three conferences that season, they finished as defeated finalists (to Toyota) in the Reinforced Filipino Conference, then champions of the Invitational Conference, and finally third place in the Open Conference, being the league’s most consistent team that season.

Later, Manotoc moved to coach Crispa in the 1983 season. Nat Canson took over as head coach.

Gold Eagle Beermen (1984)

The team was renamed Gold Eagle Beermen for the 1984 season. In spite acquiring Abe King from the disbanded Toyota Super Corollas, the franchise suffered one of its worst seasons.

Magnolia Ice Cream/Quench Plus (1985); Magnolia Cheese (1986–1987)

In 1985, the franchise played as Magnolia Ice Cream (Magnolia was then a division of San Miguel Corporation) and as Magnolia Quench Plus during the Reinforced Conference. Despite the efforts of import and playing-coach Norman Black, Magnolia failed to win a championship, although it was finalist in the Open Conference (losing to Great Taste Coffee Makers in six games).

The franchise filed for a leave of absence from the league after the 1985 season in the aftermath of the People Power Revolution, which led to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. San Miguel Corporation chairman Danding Cojuangco fled the country with Marcos.

At the start of the 1986 season, some Magnolia players were absorbed by the PBA expansion franchise, Alaska Milk. Magnolia would return during the third conference playing as Magnolia Cheese, with a new line up consisting of former Northern Cement players like Hector Calma, Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Franz Pumaren, Elmer Reyes, Yves Dignadice, Alfie Almario, Pido Jarencio and Tonichi Yturri.

The start of 1987 season brought new hope for the team, with the acquisition of Abet Guidaben and Ricardo Brown. Norman Black began his coaching career and led Magnolia Cheese to third-place finishes in the Open and All-Filipino Conferences.

Back as San Miguel Beermen (the Norman Black era) (1987–1997)

By the 1987 Reinforced Conference, the team reverted to its old name San Miguel Beermen. While the Beermen would later wear their traditional red and white jerseys, they wore a green and white color during the conference.

With Bobby Parks as import, San Miguel was able to win the conference and the franchise’s first in five years defeating the Hills Bros. Coffeemakers, led by the Bruise Brothers Yoyoy Villamin and Ricky Relosa, in five games.

Guidaben was named season MVP but not without controversy. Many people thought that Villamin was more deserving than Guidaben.

San Miguel continued its winning ways in the 1988 PBA season by winning the Open Conference that year. After placing fourth in the next conference, San Miguel traded Guidaben to Purefoods for Ramon Fernandez. The trade was executed in the height of a disagreement between Fernandez and the Purefoods management.

With Fernandez, the Beermen regained another championship by defeating the Shell Rimula-X in the finals of the Reinforced Conference. Fernandez won his fourth and last Most Valuable Player Award.

1989 Grand Slam

In 1989, San Miguel began one of the greatest seasons in league history. The Beermen defeated Shell led by Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc in the Open Conference, 4-1. In the All-Filipino Conference, San Miguel defeated a young but hungry Purefoods team in six games. At season’s end, San Miguel completed the PBA’s third grand slam by trouncing Robert Jaworski’s Anejo Rhum 65 in five games with the enlistment of quality import and former Chicago Bull Ennis Whatley.

At the time, San Miguel joined Crispa (1976, 1983) as the only teams to win the coveted grand slam.

“El Presidente” was a prime candidate to win his fifth MVP, but Fernandez was denied by Paras, who became the first and still the only player to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same season. He was however, hailed the MVP by the Philippine Sports Press Corps.

Early 1990s

San Miguel went titleless for the next two seasons, but in 1992, San Miguel defeated Purefoods in seven games to capture the All-Filipino Cup. Ato Agustin became a star on the San Miguel lineup winning the Most Valuable Player Award. However, some believed that Swift’s Nelson Asaytono could have won it.

Following Presto’s (formerly Great Taste) disbandment in 1993, San Miguel acquired shooter Allan Caidic. The trio of Agustin, Samboy Lim and Caidic in 1993 proved to be the peak of San Miguel’s backcourt strength. It was during this time that San Miguel’s back court became the yard stick of all PBA teams.

San Miguel won the Governors’ Cup crown with Kenny Travis as import. At this time, it was the Beermen’s 10th PBA title, surpassing Toyota for second on the all-time list.

1994 Asian Games

In 1994, the league announced that the winner of the All-Filipino Cup would represent the Philippines in the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan. San Miguel faced Coney Island for the championship, which the Beermen won 4-2. However, with several key San Miguel players suffering from multiple injuries, the team had no choice but to add several players from other PBA teams and in the amateur ranks.

Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera, Rey Evangelista, and Johnny Abarrientos from the pros and then-amateurs Marlou Aquino and Kenneth Duremdes were among those added to the mix. At one point, San Miguel wore the national team colors during the Commissioner’s Cup, only to lose to Swift for third place.

At the Asian Games, the SMB-led national team failed to bag a single medal by ending up in fourth place behind China, Korea, and Japan. However, Allan Caidic was the Asian Games basketball tournament leading scorer and was named in the Asiad All-Star Mythical Five Team.

After the season, Fernandez announced his retirement from the PBA after a stellar 20 season career that spanned three decades and also long time guard Hector Calma retired due to injuries.

Mid-1990s decline and the end of the Norman Black era

In 1995, San Miguel was struggling to maintain its ranks as among the best teams in the league with Sunkist and Alaska dominating at the time. All superstars Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Ato Agustin were injured and to cover the scoring gap Alvin Teng was traded to Seven Up for Gido Babilonia and Victor Pablo after All Filipino Conference. Acquired Freddie Abuda from purefoods, drafted Lou Regidor, Mike Mustre, Matt Makalintal, Gilbert Castillo and Bryant Punzalan. Though the beermen didn’t prosper on first two conferences but in Governors’ Conference with Kenny Travis back as import San Miguel broke Sunkist’s dream of a grandslam by entering the finals of the Governors’ Cup, only to lose to Alaska in a seven-game showdown.

San Miguel’s struggles would continue in 1996, the team finished third in the All-Filipino while nabbing fourth in the season-ending Governors’ Cup. Early in the year, San Miguel traded Ato Agustin to Sunkist for known-scorer Nelson Asaytono and traded Victor Pablo to Shell for Paul “Mr. Excitement” Alvarez. The third conference saw the arrival of Lamont Strothers to the PBA.

After the 1996 season, Norman Black left the team and became the head coach of Mobiline. Replacing him was former NCC coach Ron Jacobs. Before the 1997 season began, controversy surrounded the hiring of Ron Jacobs, due to objections by the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP). The BCAP believed that it endangered the chance of local coaches to enter the PBA. But, Jacobs remained coach of San Miguel for the league’s 23rd season.

With San Miguel in a sort of a rebuilding mode, Jacobs was able to mold young players like Olsen Racela who was acquired from Purefoods, Mike Mustre as well as veterans Asaytono, “Mr. Excitement” Bong Alvarez, Dignadice and Art dela Cruz into a strong team each conference. San Miguel won third place in all three conferences of the ’97 campaign. The Beermen failed to enter the finals in the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cups, respectively, losing in two do-or-die games against Gordon’s Gin and Purefoods. Jeff Ward was the import during the second conference while Larry Robinson played for SMB in the third conference.

Asaytono was a candidate to win the Most Valuable Player Award but lost to Purefoods’ Alvin Patrimonio.

San Miguel Beermen (the Danny Ildefonso era) (1998–2007)

For the 1998 season, San Miguel drafted Noy Castillo as the second overall pick in the draft. But, Castillo was quickly shipped to Shell in exchange for National University standout Danny Ildefonso.

The Beermen made a strong showing in the All-Filipino Conference but lost to Alaska in the Finals in seven games. In the Commissioner’s Cup, San Miguel brought back Strothers to replace Jeff Ward during the tournament. SMB made its return to the finals but was defeated by the Milkmen in the rematch of the All-Filipino Cup, this time in six games.

After the conference, Racela was loaned to the PBA Centennial team. As incentive, all PBA teams were allowed to hire two imports in the Governors’ Cup. Strothers and Robinson teamed up for San Miguel, but with their height disadvantage against other teams, the Beermen failed to either win the special Centennial Cup or the season-ending Governors’ Cup.

Ron Jacobs resigned after two seasons with the Beermen. His assistant coach and former NCC protégé Jong Uichico took over as head coach.

The Jong Uichico era


New coach Jong Uichico began his first season with San Miguel in 1999. As part of the PBA’s new rule to allow each team one direct-hire Filipino-foreigner, San Miguel acquired the services of Danny Seigle, younger brother of then Mobiline center Andy Seigle, to bolster the team along with former Pop Cola guard Boybits Victoria.

However, San Miguel struggled in the All-Filipino Cup and was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Formula Shell. One of their finest moments was during a match against Mobiline and star center Asi Taulava. San Miguel’s 67-66 squeaker on Asaytono’s two clutch free-throws handed the Phone Pals its first defeat after winning their first seven games.

In the Commissioner’s Cup, San Miguel tapped former Mobiline import Terquin Mott. Mott, a known temperamental player during his first stint in the league, molded well with his local teammates as San Miguel was able to make a strong showing in the elimination round. San Miguel also parted way with Asaytono, shipping him to Pop Cola for Nic Belasco and Dwight Lago. The Beermen upset the defending champion Alaska Milkmen in the semis to enter the Finals against All-Filipino winner Formula Shell with Benjie Paras and import John Best. San Miguel won the first two games of the series before Shell tied the series at 2-2. But the Beermen won the last two games to win their 12th PBA crown and their first in five years.

In the Governors’ Cup, San Miguel brought back Strothers as the Beermen cruised into the Finals of the said tournament against Alaska. The Milkmen even led the series at 2-1 but San Miguel was able to win the last three games to win their second straight championship in six games.

Seigle was named as the Rookie of the Year at season’s end and also threatened to beat Paras for the MVP plum, but the “Tower of Power” won the 1999 MVP award.

San Miguel failed to win the 2000 All-Filipino Cup by finishing fourth in the tournament. The Beermen, however, defended the Commissioner’s Cup trophy, with NBA veteran Stephen Howard on the lineup, defeating Sta. Lucia. In the Governors’ Cup, with Strothers back, they defeated Purefoods in five games for their 15th PBA title. Danny Ildefonso won his first Most Valuable Player Award at the end of the season.

In 2001, they were favorites to win the All-Filipino Cup and San Miguel did so to enter the finals against sister team Barangay Ginebra and prized rookie Mark Caguioa. After the series was tied at 2-2, SMB survived in overtime to win Game Five and blew out the Kings in Game Six to capture their first All-Filipino title in seven years.

San Miguel was now favored to win the grand slam, but the young Batang Red Bull Thunder upset SMB in the finals of the Commissioner’s Cup in six games while the Sta. Lucia Realtors, behind former SMB mentor Norman Black defeated his former club 4-2 in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.


Ildefonso, meanwhile won his second consecutive MVP in 2001. Some observers though believed that it was Danny Seigle who deserved to win the award.

Ildefonso, Racela, newly acquired Dondon Hontiveros, Seigle and coach Jong Uichico concentrated their time with the RP National team in the 2002 season. Meanwhile, San Miguel was left with only Dorian Peña and Boybits Victoria on the team. San Miguel fielded in Strothers and later former NBA veteran Mario Bennett for the Governors’ Cup. After the Beermen finished eighth in the elimination round, SMB upset the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals in the quarterfinals but was eliminated by Alaska in the semi-finals and finished fourth in the tournament. Strothers announced his retirement after the tournament.

In the Commissioner’s Cup, San Miguel took Shea Seals and Art Long as import. But the temperamental Long got into a dirty scuffle with Red Bull import Antonio Lang during a game despite San Miguel finishing fourth after the elimination phase. Terquin Mott replaced Long before the end of the eliminations. After eliminating Coca-Cola in the quarters, Red Bull eliminated them in the semis before finishing third.

In the All-Filipino, San Miguel was decimated by Danny Seigle’s injury with the national team. Racela, Ildefonso and Hontiveros returned for San Miguel but they were eliminated by Coca-Cola in the semis to finished third for the second-straight conference.

San Miguel returned in the 2003 on a bright note. After the elimination round of the All-Filipino, they finished first in Group A to qualify for the quarterfinals phase of the tournament. But the Beermen failed to enter the semis after finishing 1-2 in the single-round robin format. Their great finish in the All-Filipino helped the Beermen qualify for the Invitational tournament, but San Miguel failed to advance to the semis.

In the first Reinforced Conference in more than a decade, San Miguel fielded in several lemon imports before settling on former Sta. Lucia import Kwan Johnson. After a 0-5 start, San Miguel went 10-3 the rest of the way to enter the Finals, but lost in seven games to the Coca-Cola Tigers.

17th title

San Miguel was once again favorites to win championships in the 2004-05 season. Art Long made his return as import for San Miguel in the 2004 Fiesta Conference, a transition tournament. Long and the Beermen powered its way to a 9-0 start before finishing the tournament in first place after the eliminations. But once again, San Miguel failed to enter the semis after a 1-2 record in the quarterfinals.

In the 2004-2005 Philippine Cup (formerly the All-Filipino Cup), the Beermen finished the classification phase with an even 9-9 record. In the quarterfinals, San Miguel swept the Sta. Lucia Realtors in a three-game series. Then, the Beermen also swept Alaska in the quarterfinals. In the semis against sister rival Barangay Ginebra, the Beermen took a 2-1 series in the best-of-five affair but the Kings won the next two games to win the series, that capped with Rodney Santos’ game-winner in the deciding game. The Beermen then beat Shell to cop third-place in the tournament.

Chris Burgess was San Miguel’s import for the 2005 Fiesta Conference. San Miguel finished the classification phase in second place to gain an outright semi-finals berth. Midway to the semis, Burgess was replaced by Ace Custis and became an effective replacement for San Miguel. The Beermen eliminated Red Bull in the semi-finals to enter the Finals against the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals. The Beermen defeated the Phone Pals 4-1 to give the team its 17th PBA title in team history and ended its four-year title drought; it was also the first time in their last six championships that they’ve won a title with Danny Seigle as a non-factor in the playoffs. He was injured for almost the entire semi-finals and played only in Game 5 of the Finals. It was Jong Uichico’s sixth PBA crown as coach.

After their performance a year ago, San Miguel was heavily favored in the 2005-06 Fiesta Conference to defend their crown. They added import Rico Hill to bolster the lineup along with former Shell Turbo Charger Chris Calaguio.

But SMB’s high expectations became a disappointment. The Beermen started off with a 0-4 record before winning a game against the Air21 Express in Aklan. Hill was replaced by Kwan Johnson but the Beermen lost four more games to fall to 1-8. But the Beermen won the next five games; Johnson was suffering an injury and was temporarily replaced by Kevin Freeman. The Beermen finished with a 6-10 card and eighth place in the nine-team classification phase.

Johnson returned in time for San Miguel against ten-sister team Coca-Cola in the survivor round. The Beermen had a twice to beat edge, but the Tigers won the first encounter on January 6. A day later, Ildefonso’s game-winner propelled the Beermen to the next round. In the Wildcard phase against the Express, they ended up losing in three games.

Before the start of the 2006 PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel traded its veteran forward Nic Belasco to the Alaska Aces for guard Brandon Cablay. In a separate move, the Beermen acquired Wesley Gonzales from the Air21 Express and shipped Eugene Tejada to sister team Purefoods. The Express was supposed to send Homer Se to Purefoods but failed to pass his physical test, and was returned to the Air21 squad. The Cablay trade was seen as a preparation for the possible retirement of point guard Olsen Racela.

After a 1-2 start in the tournament, the Beermen won the next eight games before finishing with an 11-5 record. Their second place tally sent the Beermen to an outright semifinals berth, a huge improvement from their disappointing run in the Fiesta Conference. The Beermen’s surge also saw Danny Seigle’s numerous scoring outburst, norming 20 points in almost all of the games he played during the conference.

However, in the semifinals, they were upset by the Red Bull Barako in seven games. San Miguel won Games 2, 4 and the sixth game to level the matchup to a seventh game. However, in Game 7, the Beermen lost on a last second shot by Junthy Valenzuela, eliminating them from the tournament. In a one-game matchup for third place, San Miguel lost to Alaska 102-95 to finish fourth in the 2006 Philippine Cup.

Chot Reyes and Siot Tanquingcen

In the offseason, the San Miguel Corporation moved national team head coach Chot Reyes to the Beermen as its head coach while sending Jong Uichico to coach the Barangay Ginebra Kings. In the 2006 PBA Rookie Draft, the Beermen selected LA Tenorio (fourth overall pick) and Gabby Espinas (fifth overall pick) in one of the rare incidents in which San Miguel drafted players from the rookie draft.

After a 0-3 start in the tournament plus the injuries of Seigle and Ildefonso, the Beermen received Rommel Adducul and Lordy Tugade from Ginebra and Red Bull, respectively, in a three-team trade. This led to San Miguel winning 13 of the next 15 games to finished with a 13-5 record and an outright semifinals berth.

In the semis, the Beermen defeated Red Bull in seven games that was highlighted by the physical encounters of both squad in the series which also involved Red Bull’s head man Yeng Guiao. In the Finals, after leading the series 2-0 the Beermen were beaten by the Barangay Ginebra Kings in six games.

In the recent 2007 Fiesta Conference, Chot Reyes took a leave to form and coach the national basketball team for the FIBA Asia Championships. For a few games, Biboy Ravanes was hired as the team’s interim coach but soon San Miguel faltered to a slow start.

Soon, former Ginebra head coach and assistant coach Siot Tanquingcen was moved to the Beermen to be its interim tactician. However, fortunes didn’t change as they suffered to a horrible 0-6 start and later 2-8 after fielding imports Vidal Messiah and Paul McMillan.

But then, San Miguel soon won eight games with the arrival of the team’s third import, former Alaska Ace Galen Young. SMB wound up with a 10-8 win-loss card to end the elimination round, only to lose to Alaska in the eliminations, and to Air21 in a knockout match for the second outright quarterfinals berth.

At this time, the Beermen shipped Rommel Adducul to Red Bull for prized center Enrico Villanueva in a controversial trade which also involved sister team Purefoods, which snagged Adducul after trading reserve Don Camaso.

SMB was relegated to the wild-card playoffs but beat Sta. Lucia in the first knockout game of the phase and then pulled off the first of what was dubbed as the “Beeracle Run” over Coca-Cola in which they came back from a four-point deficit with 12 seconds to go to advance against Ginebra in the quarters.

There, the Beermen exacted revenge on the Barangay Ginebra Kings by beating them in three full games. The Beermen entered the Fiesta Conference semifinals only to lose to Alaska in six hard fought games and placed fourth in a loss to Red Bull for the consolation third-place trophy.

Magnolia Beverage Masters (2007–2008)


After 20 years of carrying the San Miguel name, the San Miguel Corporation radically changed the team name to Magnolia Beverage Masters starting the 2007–08 PBA season.

Prior to the change, they named Tanquingcen as coach while they acquired Larry Fonacier from Red Bull. In the 2007 PBA Draft, Samigue Eman and Jonas Villanueva were taken in the first round.

Former first over-all pick Mike Cortez and Ken Bono were dealt by Alaska for Beverage Masters LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier in a blockbuster trade.

In what could be one of the biggest single-day trade in PBA history, Magnolia acquired Marc Pingris from Purefoods in exchange for a future draft pick.

Back as San Miguel Beermen (2008–2011)

In 2008, the team again reverted to its old name, the San Miguel Beermen.

In the 2008 PBA Draft, the team used its 3rd pick in the 1st round to select 5-foot-11 point guard Jayson Castro, then traded Jayson Castro to Talk ‘N Text for the 6-foot-7 guard/forward Jay Washington. They also drafted 5-foot-11 point guard Bonbon Custodio using their 8th pick in the 1st round. They have also acquired 6-foot-9 center Mick Pennisi from Red Bull in exchange for their 2010 1st round draft pick.

In the Philippine Cup the team managed to have the 6th seed and they managed to beat the Crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra Kings but eventually lost to semifinals to the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.

In their first game in the 2009 Fiesta Conference they played without an import but managed to beat the Alaska Aces, and with the Acquisition of Albany Patroons Gabe Freeman as their import they managed to win 8 consecutive games and had the best league record. And they gained an outright semis spot beating Burger King in 6 games as they march to the finals to claim their 18th title by beating the Barangay Ginebra Kings in 7 crucial games.

Arrival of Arwind Santos


If the San Miguel Beermen was a powerhouse team last season, the team got more formidable and fierce with their new acquisition of players for the upcoming season. They acquired Arwind Santos from the Burger King in exchange for Marc Pingris, Ken Bono and a future draft pick. They drafted JRU stalwart James Sena in the recent annual draft. And lately, they received FEU standout Dennis Miranda from the Sta. Lucia Realtors in replace for a future draft pick.

The Beermen clinch the 1st outright semis slot but they lost to their sister team the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants in 6 games (4-2). They top the Kings for the Battle for 3rd place.

In preparation for the coming Fiesta Conference, the Beermen took a shake on their roster. They traded Mike Cortez to Air21 Express in exchange for Alex Cabagnot.Then traded Bonbon Custodio to Sta. Lucia Realtors for Joseph Yeo.

The Beermen lost to Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup on February 4, 2011. This is the first finals stint of coach Ato Agustin.

On March 2, 2011, the San Miguel Beermen has finally closed a deal with the Air21 Express with the approval of Commissioner Chito Salud. On this trade, the Beermen shifted Paul Artadi, Danny Seigle, Cebuano Hot Shot Dondon Hontiveros and Dorian Pena to the Express in exchange for three draft rookie draft picks Nonoy Baclao, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Rey Guevarra. This trade is the revised proposed trade of the Beermen which initially involved Joseph Yeo, Danny Seigle and Mick Pennisi in exchange for the said top rookie picks. This has not been aprroved by Commissioner Chito Salud until this revised trade came in.

After the trade, they were eliminated and finish 9th place with 2 wins and 7 losses, the worst in franchise history.

Petron Blaze Boosters (The Arwind Santos era) (2011–2014)


On March 2011, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced that the franchise shall be playing under the name Petron Blaze Boosters, beginning the 2011 PBA Governors’ Cup. SMC had acquired majority control of Petron Corporation in December 2010.

After a bad record last conference, they had reached the PBA Finals against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. Even though they had several injured players, they had defeated Talk ‘N Text in Game 1, 89-88, on a buzzer-beating shot by Danny Ildefonso. In Game 2, they lost against the Texters in a score of 103–85. In Game 3, they lost against the Texters in a score of 132–105. In Game 4, they outscored the Texters 105–83. In Game 5, they won against the Texters in a score of 93–80.[15][16] In Game 6, they lost against the Texters 104–78. In Game 7 they had won against the Texters 85–73 and won the championship despite absence of Jay Washington, Lordy Tugade, Joseph Yeo and Rabeh Al-Hussaini. Ato Agustin is the 9th rookie coach to win a PBA Championship. Arwind Santos was crowned as the Finals MVP.

The Petron Blaze Boosters made some changes in their line-up for the 2011 PBA draft; the Boosters acquired #3 pick Chris Lutz together with Dondon Hontiveros and Carlo Sharma from the Barako Bull Energy. In exchange, Barako Bull Energy received the services of #8 pick Allein Maliksi, Sunday Salvacion, Mick Pennisi and future draft picks.

Having the first overall pick of the 2012 PBA draft, they picked June Mar Fajardo from the University of Cebu. Fajardo has played with the San Miguel Beermen in the ASEAN Basketball League prior to him being drafted.

Pre-season trades

In 2013, Ronald Tubid was involved in a 5-team, 10-player trade that sent him to Petron Blaze Boosters. The Boosters acquired Barako Bull Tubid while giving away Jojo Duncil and Fil-Am rookie Alex Mallari and Petron’s 2014 first round pick. Before the start of the Governors’ Cup, Petron traded Jay Washington to Globalport in exchange for Jason Deutchman and 2014 two 2nd round picks, and Dorian Pena plus 2013 2nd round pick to Barako Bull for Doug Kramer.

On September 2013, Petron and Air21 Express completed a deal that sent Joseph Yeo to the Express for Mark Isip.

Petron acquired Chris Ross from GlobalPort Batang Pier in exchange for Denok Miranda.[33][34] The trade was approved by Comm. Salud on October 30, 2013.

Petron traded Mark Isip together with Magi Sison for 5th overall pick of Barako. Petron traded its 5th pick (originally from Barako) to Globalport for Yousef Taha.

Back as San Miguel Beermen (2014)

On January 13, 2014, SMC President Ramon S. Ang announced that the Petron Blaze Boosters will revert its name back to San Miguel Beermen starting the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, in time for the 25th year anniversary of the team’s 1989 PBA Grand Slam season. In line with the name change, they also made personnel movements. They elevated longtime assistant coach Biboy Ravanes as head coach and John Todd Purves as active consultant. On February 18, 2014, they traded Alex Cabagnot to GlobalPort for Sol Mercado, and acquired Rico Maierhofer from Barako Bull via a complex seven player trade. Assistant coaches Siot Tanquincen and Leo Austria were let go by the organization as part of the coaching rigodon.

On April 29, 2014, the San Miguel Beermen traded young big man Yousef Taha for GlobalPort Batang Pier’s rookie big man, Justin Chua.

The June Mar Fajardo era (2014–present)

2014–15 season

New Coach, Champions Again

The Beermen made some changes with their coaching staff during the off-season. Leo Austria was brought back to the SMC organization and appointed as the new head coach of the team. Biboy Ravanes returned to his old role as assistant coach but Todd Purves was demoted and given minimal role as consultant. They also nabbed Ronald Pascual with their #3 pick on draft day and signed rookie free agent David Semerad and veteran Nelbert Omolon.

In the middle of Philippine Cup eliminations, they traded Paolo Hubalde to Barako Bull in exchange for playmaker Jeric Fortuna. With this trade, Fortuna reunited with Austria, with whom he played for during their ABL days.

They finished first in the 2014–15 PBA Philippine Cup eliminations with 9-2 win-loss record and earned an outright semis berth. On December 10, 2014, before the semifinals, Commissioner Salud approved the trade that sent back Sol Mercado to GlobalPort in a straight-swap with Alex Cabagnot. Cabagnot provided them more outside firepower and veteran leadership – something that Mercado sorely lacked.

With Cabagnot back in San Miguel, the Beermen swept the Tropang Texters in their semi-final matchup.

San Miguel clinched the 2014–15 PBA Philippine Cup championship by beating Alaska in seven games, for their 20th PBA crown. Arwind Santos was named Finals MVP.

2015 Commissioner's Cup, missed playoffs

The Beermen initially reached an agreement with Arinze Onuaku to be their import, but with several NBA teams expressing their interest in him, they instead acquired Ronald Roberts as their reinforcement for the second conference.

Coming off a championship run and due to lack of preparation, the Beermen started the conference winless with four straight losses, with the latest defeat at the hands of Alaska. Injuries to Alex Cabagnot (hamstring) and Arwind Santos (knee contusion) only made matters worse. Coach Leo Austria and the coaching staff decided to let go of import Roberts and bring in reigning Best Import Arizona Reid after the latter got a release from Rain or Shine. Even after a win against the GlobalPort, the Beermen still missed the playoffs.

2015 Governors' Cup, Champions Once Again

The Beermen won once again against the Alaska Aces, in the Finals 4–0, still with import Arizona Reid. June Mar Fajardo won his second MVP award as well as the Finals MVP.

2015–16 season


On August 25, 2015, the Beermen traded playmaker Jeric Fortuna to the Barako Bull Energy for June Mar Fajardo’s pal Brian Heruela. They also nabbed Michael Mabulac at 32nd overall and Andretti Stevens at 41st overall in the 2015 PBA draft.

On September 24, 2015, the Beermen traded sophomore swingman Ronald Pascual to the Barako Bull Energy for guard Ryan Araña who was also traded from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to Barako Bull for a second round pick prior to the Pascual-Araña trade.

During the elimination round, the Beermen had a seven-game winning streak up until their tenth game to maintain top spot during the whole round. On December 16, 2015, which is their eleventh and last game of the eliminations, the game was dominated by June Mar Fajardo, who had a career night of 43 points and 20 rebounds. But they lost to the Alaska Aces, 97–103, to end their winning streak and to conclude the elimination round with a 9–2 record.

Beeracle, the "Mother of All Comebacks"

On February 3, 2016, the Beermen officially became the first professional basketball team in the world ever to come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series, which they were able to achieve against the Alaska Aces during the 2015–16 PBA Philippine Cup Finals and Chris Ross was named finals MVP. With the victory, the Beermen have tied the Star Hotshots for the most all-time PBA All-Filipino/Philippine Cup titles with six to date.

The Beermen signed Tyler Wilkerson as their import for the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. He helped the team record a 8–3 win-loss slate in the eliminations and the first seed for the playoffs. He is also the leading statistical points leaders for the imports who played during that conference at the end of the eliminations round.

On April 8, 2016, the San Miguel Beermen signed unrestricted free agent Gary David from Meralco and also relegated Michael Mabulac to the Injured/Reserved list. The team also dropped Nelbert Omolon to the team’s unrestricted free agent list.

On April 26, 2016, after their 96–98 loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the game 2 of their semifinals battle, an off-court drama has unfolded inside the San Miguel locker room after leading Best Import candidate Tyler Wilkerson walked out of the Beermen’s post game huddle. He was overheard saying, “Take me back to America. I want to go home.” The Beermen management eventually decided to let go of Wilkerson and play an All-Filipino squad in game 3, which they eventually won, 104–98. The staff eventually choose their former import Arizona Reid as a last-minute replacement for Wilkerson.

2015–16 season

During the draft, they picked Arnold Van Opstal from the special drafted for the Gilas players. They also picked Rashawn McCarthy and Jovit dela Cruz during the regular draft rounds.

On November 3, 2016, the Beermen traded veteran guard Ryan Araña & 2018 1st round pick to the Mahindra Floodbuster in exchange for young talents RR Garcia, which the Floodbuster acquired in a prior trade with Star Hotshots. The Beermen also acquired Keith Agovida in this transaction.